The stars and showrunner of NBC’s new action-thriller series “The Player” promised “stunts you have not seen on television before” and a whole realm of plot twists galore in the fledgling show’s first season during a panel discussion at San Diego Comic-Con International Thursday.
Fans crowded into Room 6A for a sneak peak of the upcoming show set to premiere Thursday, September 24 on NBC. They were treated to an exclusive screening of the pilot episode, featuring loud, action-packed fights and mysterious problem-solving and even one protagonist – Philip Wincester as Alex Kane – running through the streets of Las Vegas in his underwear.
Panelists Winchester (“Strike Back,” “Fringe”), Wesley Snipes (“Blade,” “The Expendables”) and showrunner John Rogers couldn’t ignore the cheers from fans as the discussion turned toward filming that scene and the chase that lead straight from the hotel room where his ex-wife had been shot down the street in nothing but his underwear.
“I don’t think anyone batted an eye in Vegas…It was the norm for Vegas,” Winchester said, laughing along with fans. “For me it was nerve-wracking, but you know, lots of push-ups and eating salad all day.”
After the audience erupted into laughter, Snipes leaned over and smiled at his co-star and showrunner.
“I’ve already suggested to [Showrunner] John we have more scenes of Philip running down the street in his underwear,” Snipes said with a sly smile.
It likely wasn’t the first time Rogers had considered bringing some lighter moments into the thrilling show.
“[Snipes’ character] is like, we want you to stop this crime, but we’ll pay double if you do it in your underwear,” Rogers joked to the audience on the heels of their laughter.
The drama, from the executive producers of NBC’s hit show “The Blacklist,” centers around a high-stakes gambling game where a group of wealthy gamblers bet on the ability of one ‘player’ to stop crimes from unfolding.
Former military operative turned security expert Alex is recruited as ‘the player’ for the house, his missions to solve crime handed out by the pit boss, played by Wesley Snipes, and the dealer, Charity Wakefield.
“I just want something that just kicks the doors in every week," said Rogers of the series, picked up by NBC in May.
But early on, stars Snipes and Winchester revealed how nervous they were when first signing on to the show. Winchester’s agent told him to play it cool when he walked in to speak with the show’s creators.
“How am I going to play it cool when it’s that good?” Winchester said he asked himself as he walked in.
For Snipes, it was also about the content. “The first attractive thing was the writing,” he said.
Showrunner Rogers said at its core, the show was about good people and bad people and their relationships with power. He said he wanted the show to be somewhat morally ambiguous with plot twists and characters viewers could connect with.
That, and action viewers would not be able to see elsewhere.
“It’s not what we set on fire, but how many things are we allowed to set on fire?” Rogers said of his team’s mentality going in.